Keith Howells has chaired a panel session on BIM at ACE’s Annual Conference. He opened discussions by outlining how the importance of, and knowledge surrounding BIM across the market was improving. This was beginning to highlight areas where skills needed improvement within the industry, and the importance of overall asset management.
Mark Bew, chairman, government industry BIM working group, outlined how he had spent the last 18 months working with industry to develop the government’s BIM strategy. The reason for government’s increased engagement with BIM is driven by the potential for efficiency improvements and creating better value for money.
By utilising BIM, government should be able to improve the products it procures from industry, he said, and government is using tools that are open to all industry participants to help achieve this goal.
One of the key tasks in this is to engage with the supplier base. He said they aim to help participants in the market to understand the information available and the procurement process, improving efficiency where possible.
Government departments have started using BIM data, with the aim that by 2016 there should be a much greater integration and sharing of data to create smart cities and assets.
Rob Manning, director of building engineering, Aecom, commented that industry is continuing to evolve. Can industry going forward share information openly for the benefit of customers and clients? He said such information could lead to longer design times but potentially also result in shorter on site times, improving safety standards, lower costs and improving operational efficiency. BIM will thus shift business models, time frames, billing requirements and how industry operates.
Information exchange tools will also be important within this, allowing information to be displayed and understood clearly. For these objectives to be met industry needs top down approval. He said BIM will have to be driven from the top if the benefits are to be fully gained.
John Henderson, partner, Beale and Company LLP, then outlined that for level three BIM there should be no significant legal obstacles, but there may be some challenges. For example, within level two BIM, companies may require a BIM addendum and a delivery plan which outlines the individuals that are undertaking the task. This would therefore be similar in nature to more traditional delivery programmes.
The more difficult issues will be those that are less easy to articulate. Such as the idea that because of the use of BIM, the standard terms under which business operates are no longer aligned to issues such as delivery timings, information obligations and payment terms.
BIM will thus require greater dialog between parties, with the need for greater collaboration to resolve issues.
Finally Sally Partridge, legal director at ACE, outlined items such ACE’s involvement in the government’s working group. She stressed that BIM needs to be seen as more than just a design model, it can provide much greater benefits than that suggests. Another area raised was that of improving the sharing and transfer of knowledge regarding BIM between smaller and larger ACE member firms.
Whilst there are a variety of views as to what BIM is, she said it could hold significant potential for industry.
Author: Economics Correspondent Graham Pontin (email@example.com or 0207 227 882)